Agriculture infrastructure needed in ‘Build, Build, Build’—Drilon
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday asked for the inclusion of agriculture support infrastructures in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program to enhance the country’s agricultural productivity.
Drilon also blamed the developing rice crisis in the country, particularly in Zamboanga City, on poor agriculture infrastructure.
“The government should take a closer look at the state of agriculture infrastructure in the country, if it wants to enhance agricultural productivity to prevent rice shortage and stop unscrupulous traders from taking advantage of the situation,” Drilon said in a statement.
The senator cited the construction of the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project Phase II (JRMP II) as example of such agriculture support infrastructure.
Drilon, who initiated the program in 2011, said the project will be the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon that will provide uninterrupted irrigation water supply to 32,000 hectares of farmland, benefit more than 783,000 farmers and increase annual production of rice to 300,000 metric tons from 140,000 in Iloilo.
The contract-signing for the JRMP II is expected to happen on Monday, September 3, 2018 at the National Irrigation Office in Quezon City.
“The contract signing for one of the biggest agricultural undertakings will bring us closer to our goal of improving agricultural production and stimulating agri-industrial activities,” Drilon said.
Drilon stressed that the Western Visayas is one of the many regions in the country, which suffered a decline in agriculture output due to poor infrastructure.
The volume of production for palay in the region has been on a decrease – from 2,292,201 metric tons (mt) in 2012, 2,090,790 mt in 2013, and 2,052,574 mt in 2014, he noted.
With the JRMP II, Drilon said the declining agricultural productivity will be addressed.
JRMP II was first implemented in 1960s after the fourth Congress passed Republic Act 2651, which provides for the construction of the JRMP in Iloilo. Its first phase was completed in 1980s but its second phase was derailed due to lack of funding. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.